The frame of the Zane Grey cabin replica at Green Valley Park is rising, and passersby might be surprised to see how authentic it is.
"Being faithful to the original cabin, we are not using any modern materials such as particle board or laminated beams," Zane Grey Cabin Foundation President Dick Wolfe said. "All the beams are big, solid, huge, heavy beams. I just love it because that's the way it was originally."
A closer look at old photographs of the original cabin, which sat on 3 acres near Kohl's Ranch and burned to the ground in 1990 during the Dude Fire, revealed some interesting imperfections.
"We were making a book of photographs of the old cabin for the contractor and we were poring over it the other day and we noticed what we thought were some design flaws," Wolfe said. "We had them blown up and, lo and behold, there they were. I told the contractor I want him to duplicate those flaws."
One example is that one of the railings on the double staircase is very different from the other three.
The contractor on the project, D.A. Dailey Construction, has another obstacle to overcome -- the fact that the cabin was built before building codes, nearly a century ago.
"We have to conform and comply to codes that didn't exist back then, and yet still achieve the same look the cabin had in the 1920s," Dave Dailey said.
The cabin is rising on the grassy knoll just to the east of the Rim Country Museum in Green Valley Park at the west end of Main Street.
Dailey, who has lived in Payson since 1979, is very excited to be involved in the project.
Photos detailing construction progress can be viewed at: www.zanegreycabin.org.
Zane Grey Room at Mad Dawg's
The newly named and decorated Zane Grey Room at Mad Dawg's and Mel's Restaurant on Main Street is done and open for business.
Wolfe and others from the foundation spent Thursday putting up photos, exhibits and other artifacts associated with the famous Western novelist, who spent every fall at the cabin during the 1920s working on his 56 books, 24 of which are set in Arizona.
Madeline Manchio, co-owner of the popular Main Street eatery, is as excited as Dailey to be involved.
"This is our history, and the cabin is being built just down the street at Green Valley Park," she said. "This is just our way of being a part of it."
A wall was knocked out between two dining areas, the Green Room and the ballroom, to combine them into the Zane Grey Room. The restaurant can now seat 80 people in the larger room for banquets, meetings and parties.
To join the foundation or learn more about ways to contribute to construction of the cabin, contact the foundation by e-mail at email@example.com; by mail at P.O. Box 3188, Payson, AZ 85547; or by phone at (928) 474-6115.